Sunday Independent editor Steve Motale has come out fighting, defending his paper's article that revealed the alleged extramarital affairs of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Motale said he had since been the victim of death threats from callers who claim to be Ramaphosa supporters. He also threatened the deputy president with more exposés.
In an opinion piece on IOL, Motale said he had for a few months been investigating hundreds of emails that had been leaked to him.
The emails link Ramaphosa to a string of extramarital affairs –- emails that are apparently accompanied by pictures, erotic videos and bank deposit slips.
He said he took the time to verify "every single document" given to him by the sources.
"My team and I have over the past few months spent hours daily going through every document in an effort to satisfy ourselves that the information we were given was credible," he said.
Ramaphosa 'realised his blunder'
After requesting and obtaining Ramaphosa's private email addresses, Motale said he forwarded a list of queries to the deputy president.
"It was only after we emailed him questions later that same day that Ramaphosa realised his blunder. He then decided to go all out to make sure the allegations against him didn't reach the public," Motale said.
Ramaphosa requested an extension of the deadline to respond and Motale said he complied.
"A few minutes after my SMS communication with Ramaphosa, questions that were sent to one of the women romantically linked to him were leaked on social media. About an hour later, those sent to Ramaphosa's private email accounts with my cellphone numbers followed suit," Motale said.
"This put enormous pressure on me. My cellphone never stopped ringing. I was bombarded with calls by the media, the public and ordinary citizens who wanted me to confirm whether the questions had been sent by me."
Motale said he then began receiving death threats from callers who claimed to be Ramaphosa supporters.
"Instead of responding to my questions, Ramaphosa went as far as to call Independent Media's executive chairperson, Dr Iqbal Survé, begging him to make sure that Sunday Independent did not publish the story about him," Motale said.
"I must stress that what we published last Sunday was a sanitised version of the original story."
Motale said Ramaphosa's conduct was of "a person with something to hide".
"He should come clean on the allegations before even more is revealed. This is not an idle threat; since Sunday Independent published the story, more women have approached us asking to tell their stories. We are currently verifying their claims," Motale said.
"The campaign of vilification against me personally and Sunday Independent lays bare a campaign of factionalism and bias in the media."